~Agreement to make petroleum rehabilitation more efficient and economical reached~
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding that augments current collaboration between the two agencies to prioritize environmental assessment in areas critical to the expansion of vital transportation corridors. The agreement also ensures taxpayer funds used to remediate petroleum sites located under state roads are optimally utilized.
The two agencies have agreed to share knowledge and expertise related to the environmental assessment and remediation of petroleum sites that are located next to state roads or in the path of critical road expansions. Both agencies agree to utilize and leverage existing resources to prioritize the environmental assessment of petroleum sites located within the right-of-way of DOT’s most important transportation corridor expansions so DEP can determine the degree of remediation that may be necessary prior to road construction.
“This agreement is a win for Florida’s environment, infrastructure and Florida taxpayers,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “It is great to have Secretary Prasad, who’s been an instrumental partner in environmental restoration. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with DOT and seeing our state continue to grow in an environmentally responsible way.”
In addition, both agencies agree certain petroleum sites where contamination lies under a state road may not require active remediation. In these cases, the road acts as a barrier to prevent all access to contaminated soil and/or groundwater. The cost savings achieved by DEP will be put into remediating sites where the potential risk to human health and the environment is greater.
FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad said, “Today’s announcement further illustrates the department’s commitment to strengthen our infrastructure while being good stewards of Florida’s natural resources. Through the Memorandum of Understanding, both agencies will work together to positively impact Florida’s transportation and environmental future.”
The agreement comes at a time when Florida is achieving solid growth rates and future investments in road expansions are critical to ensure the state’s infrastructure can accommodate economic growth. This follows the recent revamping by DEP and the legislature of the state’s Petroleum Restoration Program that funds the remediation of sites affected by releases of petroleum compounds.
“The new Memorandum of Understanding marks an important step forward in our ongoing collaboration with DOT,” said Jorge Caspary, director of DEP’s Division of Waste Management. “We look forward to working more closely with DOT as we continue efforts to close more petroleum contamination sites across the state.”